pqotw 155

Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 155

Should Harry be following his head, his heart, or Hermione?

Back in Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore tried – and failed – to get Harry to learn Occlumency from Snape. His failings are brought up again here, at the end up the chapter, via Hermione. She reminds Harry that Dumbledore wanted him to close his mind and shut Voldemort out. Hermione in this moment is following what she believes is Dumbledore’s plan – to shut out Voldemort, find the Horcruxes, destroy Voldemort. Harry is also in this moment following what he believes is Dumbledore’s plan – by any means possible, destroy Lord Voldemort by learning about Tom Riddle and finding and destroying the Horcruxes. While we know that these “Horcrux visions” do help in the end, we also know that Voldemort has taken advantage of this connection in the past (RIP Sirius). Do Hermione’s intentions still seem like the best course of action? Does Occlumency still seem like a skill Harry should hone? If Dumbledore were alive, would he still advocate for it?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or by sending us an Audioboom!

  • Mischief Managed

    I may be a bit off the exact question here, but I actually wonder if it is even possible for Harry to use Occlumency against Voldemort. Harry was not great at Occlumency lessons with Snape…but let’s be honest, the lessons themselves may not have been the most conducive to Harry’s learning anyway. But perhaps the reason his Occlumency against Voldemort was a complete failure has to do with the horcrux. Since Harry is a horcrux, it seems as if closing the link might be rendered impossible. Maybe Harry cannot disconnect himself from Voldemort because the bit of soul in him cannot be disconnected from its original person? Nobody could have known that for sure, not even Dumbledore, as (as far as I can remember from anything I’ve heard) Harry is the first person to ever be made into a horcrux. And even if Dumbledore suspected that the link would make Occlumency fail against Voldemort, I could see him wanting Harry to learn it just in case it would work, or even just so that it could limit some of the link between them. Perhaps he hoped that the Occlumency could make the bit of Voldemort’s soul in Harry affect Harry less (especially as the link and effect it has on Harry had been growing steadily stronger since Voldy got his body back). As far as Dumbledore advocating for Harry continuing the practice, I think that even as early as HBP Dumbledore had given up on Harry’s Occlumency…perhaps he, himself, came to the realization that it was impossible. If not, why would he not get someone else to teach Harry once the debacle with Snape happened? If Dumbledore thought it was that important for Harry to learn, he would have found a way to make sure Harry had a teacher…he could have done it himself, even.

  • Eileen_Prince/Jones

    I think that dumbledore definitely would have advocated it. Hes all about using any tool he can against bringing down voldee. We know hes alright with “raising a pig for slaughter” (only using that term to prove a point, we know dumby cared about harry, he just also knew what had to be done to kill voldee), he had to have been ok with this insight to voldees thoughts and whereabouts, its like having an inside man, but literally inside voldee. He wanted harry to learn occlumency in his fifth year because he was afraid of the potential of voldee looking into harrys thoughts which at the end of that year dumby wasn’t so worried about anymore because he states that voldee is afraid of the pain of possessing harry would cause him because of the love harry has within him. I think hermione is afraid of it happening more than shes still following dumbledores orders. I don’t think harry needs to learn occlumency immediately, we all know if harry doesn’t want to learn something he’s not going to anyways.

  • WitchWolfsbane10

    Dumbledore explicitly tells Snape in “The Prince’s Tale” that Voldemort fears the connection with Harry because of the intense agony he felt when Harry remembered Sirius. Because Harry is also a horcrux, Occlumency against Voldemort is probably completely useless anyway. As Dumbledore explains when talking of souls and minds, “to speak of one is to speak of the other.” So even if it *was* possible for Harry to use Occlumency against Voldemort, Dumbledore doesn’t think it necessary anymore because Voldemort won’t use it again. Furthermore, it is vital that Harry dies “at the right moment,” and if that connection was still a threat, Dumbledore would have told Harry to keep practicing…even given him some actual lessons. But he doesn’t. It’s safe to say Dumbledore would have been all for Harry using the connection, I think.

    Because of that *exact conversation* with Snape in Dumbledore’s office about horcruxes and “pig for slaughter,” it’s supremely interesting to me that Snape tells Harry to close his mind when he’s leaving at the end of HBP. Does this hint that maybe Snape didn’t agree with Dumbledore that Voldemort *wouldn’t* utilize that connection to manipulate Harry again? Makes you wonder how much Snape’s opinion of Dumbledore changed after that conversation.

    Now, as someone who is not in Harry Potter’s own mind, using Occlumency is
    the best course of action here given past experiences. Hermione’s intentions always come from a pure, good, educated place; she wants them all to be as safe as humanly possible, and she has faith in the plan Dumbledore has seemingly set for them. However, I think the biggest reason she’s vehemently against Harry using the connection is out of pure terror. The last time Harry failed to close his mind, Sirius was killed, and Harry was possessed. Remember the discussion during HBP about how Hermione was dismissive to Harry about Draco Malfoy because of what happened at the Department of Mysteries? I think it has extended here to a point. As we see, she finds it tedious and exhausting hunting horcruxes without a real plan as it is. I think she’s terrified of having to follow Harry’s lead when, for all she knows, it could be heavily influenced by Voldemort, himself.

    But we’re not Hermione. We have the benefit of being inside Harry’s head with him. We see what he sees, feels what he feels, knows what he knows. We get the feel of this connection better than Hermione ever could, and we understand that this time is different than back in OotP. Hermione has no clue Harry’s a horcrux, but she does know that Harry’s connection to Voldemort is unprecedented, and it’s something that’s completely outside her realm of knowledge. Remember when she tried researching Harry’s scar back in GoF and failed? It makes sense given all the examples we have that Hermione fears inexplicable, unprecedented magic she can’t fully learn and comprehend, especially when it could lead to any one of their demise.

    That being said, Harry being a horcrux probably makes Occlumency against Voldemort useless, and Harry seems to be able to at least utilize what he does see to his advantage as best he can. Hindsight is twenty twenty, but from the first read up til now, I trusted Harry here.

    • Eileen_Prince/Jones

      You and i seem to be on the same page about a lot of stuff, even the ron love! U just explain it way better than i did…awesome! Love your insight here 😀

      • WitchWolfsbane10

        Great minds! 😉 Haha thank you very much!

  • FeatherSickle7662

    I think that Hermione is right only in the sense that he should definitely learn this skill. However I don’t think Dumbledore wants Harry to shut his mind completely to Voldie. He wants Harry to only shut his mind to Voldie about certain things (The Horcrux Hunt). I believe that Dumbledore wanted Harry to act as a double agent, very similar to Snape. I think Dumbledore, yet again, was using Harry as a tool or pawn in his game. Not that using this connection was exactly a bad thing but I think Dumbledore should have made his intentions a little more clear; But alas, it’s good old Puppet Master at his best.

  • SeanLFCDF

    I personally believe that Harry should have continued learning Occlumency. Although it has been pointed out by others that there’s a possibility it’s useless given that Harry is a horcrux, we don’t actually know this – and the connection between Harry and Voldemort has vast potential in terms of its use for Harry and co. It would, on one hand, allow them to hide the horcrux hunt from Voldemort, but also imagine this:

    We see throughout the books that some of the visions Harry receives from the connection are accidental, while others are deliberately placed there by Voldemort in order to plant false information (RIP Sirius). It is possible that there is a different “feel” between accidental visions and the active prying through the mind that is present in deliberate visions, or the possession at the end of Order. If Harry were capable of learning the difference between these, the connection could become a powerful source of information for Harry and the Order, while ensuring safety in its use.

    I know it would require a lot of training to defeat a wizard as powerful as Voldemort in this way, but I think it would have been an interesting course of action to take nonetheless.

  • This is a difficult question to answer. For one, it has been over a year since Voldee has used this connection as a weapon. For whatever reason, Voldee hasn’t tried to manipulate Harry through any dreams or visions. Perhaps he just doesn’t have the setup or perhaps he assumes Harry would know better now. Whatever the reason, it has been a long while since this technique has been used. That said, it is always better to play it safe. Harry really should know by now too. In book 6 Ginny warned Harry about trusting strange books and now Hermione is warning Harry not to trust his connection to Voldee. It is definitely best to shut out this connection and perhaps practice Occlumency when possible. Harry was good at fighting off the Imperious curse, and it would make sense that practicing Occlumency would better prepare him for a handful of other obsticles and magic he may encounter in his coming adventure.

    • Mischief Managed

      That raises an interesting question. He was really great at fending off the imperious curse, and I see similarities between that and occlumency….both are, in some way, not allowing someone into your mind. So why was he terrible at one but great at the other?

      • Snape. I think the sole reason was Snape.

      • SpinnersEnd

        I agree with They’ve Taken My Wheezy on this point. I think Snape was the sole reason for Harry’s failure in his Occlumency lessons. Snape never tries to really teach harry anything. He just throws him to the wolves, as it were. No preparation, not explanations, aside from “Close your mind”, which is resoundingly unhelpful.

        With a true teacher, I believe Harry would have done well with the subject.

      • TickleThePear

        While I agree Snape was pretty much the worst possible teacher, Harry did learn Occlumency and how to resist the Imperious curse pretty much the same way: trial by fire. Moody-Crouch just keeps cursing him until he can do it and Snape uses the same method. Note: Snape’s negativity sort of ruins this method of teaching in his case.

        The real reason I think Harry can resist the Imperious curse but not do Occlumency is because he was a horcrux. How can you keep something out when it’s already in?

  • lifeanddragons

    If only Harry had enough skill to actually manipulate and control what he could see of Voldemort’s mind, kind of like tuning in and out like a mind radio, instead of worrying about it happening the other way around…that would be verry useful if done properly, and one could say that it is still a valid use of Legilimens and Occlumency…but Harry would never have been able to do that…

  • DisKid

    I disagreed, even the first time I read this chapter, with Hermione. Dumbledore didn’t leave Harry with enough information on Voldemort’s horcruxes and that is the only way to defeat him. When the 6th book ended I was thinking “how on earth are they going to find the horcruxes??” I figured seeing into his head could help Harry know where the horcruxes are and perhaps even what they are. It seemed like being “psychic” was the only way to find all these horcruxes! I don’t know if Dumbledore would have advocated for it but…darn it Dumbledore you left Harry with so little options by not telling him enough! If you didn’t want him to do that, you should have given him more of a plan.

  • Claire Marie

    If I were Harry, I would completely use it. I feel like at this point in the book his “TV Connection” is merely informative. He is only gathering information about who Voldy holding captive and where he is. Ideally, I think Harry uses the connection, but records everything in a dream journal-type notebook. This way, Harry would be able to discuss all of his dreams and flashes with Ron and Hermione. Hermione and Ron would be able to look at the information from a different perspective and then be able to advise Harry. I think if the flashes and dreams were to start messing with Harry’s emotions and plans Hermione would be there to reason through everything and would have the events of book 5 to back her in her attempts to change Harry’s mind. In previous books, I don’t think Harry was discerning enough to not be manipulated by the connection, but in Hallows, I think he reaches the point where he is. After the trio escapes from Malfoy Manor, Harry sees Voldy searching for the Elder Wand, and yet does not alter his course because of Voldemort. He proves that he can handle the information and use it in appropriate ways.

  • SnugglesWithNifflers

    Dumbledore said in HBP that the lessons were a fiasco, and obviously Harry never picked up the skill. Harry is pretty much has no ability to do this kind of magic at all, so it would be useless for him to even try. I think by this time, Dumbledore recognized that Harry wearing his heart on his sleeve, which is what makes him so useless at Occlumency, is actually one of Harry’s greatest assets. Harry might be an open book, but he is not a master manipulator, like Dumbledore or Snape. He doesn’t have the ability to shut down his emotions, like Draco had to learn. Harry is genuine and loves his friends, and this is a protection in itself. Because Harry feels so much, Voldemort is effectively shut out from possessing Harry.
    As for the planting of false visions, I would think that 1. Harry would have learned from his mistake last time, and if anything felt like a setup he wouldn’t fall for it and 2. Voldemort wouldn’t try the same trick twice.

    • Yo Rufus On Fire

      I agree with your part about Harry wearing his heart on his sleeve that that’s why Voldemort doesn’t want to get into his mind again. I also think Voldemort would want to stay away from Harry’s mind is due to when he possess him in the 5th book. it hurt Voldemort so much that he wouldn’t do it again.

      What I don’t agree with is that he didn’t learn anything in his lessons with Dumbledore. I think he learned a lot when he was with Dumbledore. He learned about Voldemort’s past and his thought process. Dumbledore’s lessons help teach Harry how to search for the horcuxes and how to in the end defeat Voldemort. I think the reason why Dumbledore didn’t teach Harry any advanced spells because he didn’t need any advanced spells to take down The Dark Lord. He uses what’s inside him to defeat the most powerful dark wizard. Dumbledore doesn’t instruct Harry to look up the most elite spell to use on Voldemort, he showed him the differences betweens Tom Riddle and Harry and the downfalls that Tom takes on his road to power. Dumbledore was teaching Harry the most important lesson, for Harry to believe in himself.

      • SnugglesWithNifflers

        Sorry, I didn’t mean that he didn’t learn anything in his lessons with Dumbledore! I was referring to the Occlumency lessons with Snape. I agree with you, Dumbledore lessons were great!

        • Yo Rufus On Fire

          Ha! My apologies, I saw “Dumbledore”, “Lessons”, and “HBP” in the same sentence and i thought you were talking about Dumbledore’s lessons. Totally my fault!

  • suprememugwump

    Conspiracy theory time. I’m not too big into the whole Dumbledore-as-puppet-master idea, but I think in this case, he might have been playing a chess match. Harry speculates, in OotP, that the lessons with Snape are actually making his connection with Voldemort stronger because he has more flashes of Voldemort’s mood. While we know that this wasn’t Snape’s intention, what if it was Dumbledore’s? What if he intended to open up the connection just a wee little bit to get more evidence for his Harry-is-a-Horcrux theory? And if Harry happened to find out any information that was useful to the Order, well, that would just be a bonus. The Occlumency is a safeguard in case Voldemort realizes that Harry is seeing into his mind. Most of this actually went according to plan. Harry saves Mr. Weasley’s life while practically proving that he is a Horcrux by seeing the whole thing from Nagini’s point of view. Further, he confirms that Nagini is a Horcrux too (Dumbledore’s “In essence divided” question during the scene in his office). Obviously, Harry is disastrously bad at Occlumency and is drawn into the Department of Mysteries, but remember, Dumbledore had been forced out of the school by that point, McGonagall wasn’t there and he didn’t trust Snape enough to go to him first. If he’d told one of them, they could easily have confirmed that Sirius was at home and Dumbledore’s plan would have worked out perfectly. Harry would have seen that Voldemort was entering his mind and either been given a new teacher, worked doubly hard at Occlumency or both.
    Either way, things work out in the end and Harry learns to control the connection. As this is one step in that direction, I say that Harry was right not to bother trying Occlumency. Although Hermione is absolutely right when you think about things logically, Harry never really learned Occlumency anyway. I don’t think Dumbledore would advocate for Occlumency if he were alive. He’d see that Harry was leaning towards controlling the connection and probably help Harry do so. He’d probably guess (and I think he’d be right) that Voldemort is still wary of the connection because things went so wrong when he tried to possess Harry. And now, Voldemort is so busy with taking over the Ministry and general plans for world domination that he hasn’t had time/bothered to try and figure out how the connection actually works.

  • Ravenclawesome

    Not taking future events into account, it seems the most safe and smart at this point for Harry to listen to Hermione and work on Occlumency. Voldemort used the connection to trick Harry in the past, and since it worked once, I can certainly see him trying to use it again. What if he learned how to manipulate the connection even further? What if he was able to feed thoughts to Harry that Harry believed were his own? What if he could see through Harry’s perspective into where he was or what he was doing? What if he could even speak through Harry? I can see far too many possibilities in which keeping the connection open could be fatal to the Trio. Thankfully for them it does work out in the end, but it really could have gone terribly wrong. Even Dumbledore, who knew so much more than anyone else knew about Harry and Voldemort’s unique situation, told Harry to terminate the connection back in OOTP, and I believe he would definitely still want this. Harry is foolish to think that he knows better than Dumbledore in this situation. He’s trying to take charge of his situation now that Dumbledore is gone, but he is being reckless with his decisions.

    That said, I can understand why Harry is still using the connection. The Trio currently has no idea where to even begin on their hunt for horcruxes, so for Harry to get information through the connection gives him more insight into how they may most effectively begin their quest to destroy Voldemort. Seeing that Voldemort has captured Ollivander allows Harry to consider Voldemort’s motives and goals. But I’m shocked that Harry isn’t more cautious about the connection and the information that he is seeing through it, especially because of how it turned out last time.

  • Roonil Wazlib

    Because of the Horcrux situation, I’m not sure that any amount of Occlumency could completely shut down the connection between Harry and Voldemort’s minds. However, I wonder if occlumency could still help in
    some way. The idea of clearing one’s mind of thoughts and feelings has always reminded me of meditation. We know that Harry sees into Voldemort’s mind mostly when the Dark Lord is having a strong emotional
    response to something. Does that work in both directions? If yes, then perhaps regularly practicing meditation/occulmency could help Harry gain some control over his emotions and avoid unintentionally broadcasting his thoughts to Voldy, while still allowing him to take advantage of the connection when he wanted to.

    • Buckbeak is my spirit animal

      I think that’s a really cool idea. I’ve always wondered if Voldemort feels Harry’s emotions, too. I mean, think about moments when Harry is particularly vulnerable. Escaping from Privet Dr- if Harry was projecting his emotions, and he probably was, Voldemort could have pretty quickly figured out which Harry is the real one. Getting into the Ministry- That was a tense, emotionally charged situation where Harry was probably projecting “FIND THE HORCRUX GAH I HATE UMBRIDGE” pretty freaking loudly. That would have clued Voldemort into the Horcrux search really early.

      Why doesn’t Voldemort get that same sense of Harry’s emotions? Is it because of Lily’s protection? Probably.

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        because there is a connection, but it’s kind of one-sided, like a babyphone.

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    For the moment, Hermione is right. They do not know how/if Voldemort will use the connection again. Harry has a slightly better understanding of it now and can see the negative outcomes that are possible depending on how Voldemort can manipulate him, yet he still chooses to pay attention to the visions. Hermione is right in reminding Harry that he needs to, at the very least, learn how to control his mind, but Harry knows even better than her, the damaging effect this connection can have. That Harry still uses this connection should be a sign to Hermione about how desperate the the situation is – Harry really sees no other options. In the end, we learn that Voldemort had begun to fear this connection even moreso than Harry and Hermione (because of the emotions he experiences through Harry when Sirius dies). In the end, Harry kind of got lucky. I think Hermione is making the right choice here to remind Harry, even though she knows that Harry knows how dangerous this can be. She is right to be cautious, but once they discover that this connection is holding true (seeing where Voldemort is, feeling his emotions), I think it is also right to begin to trust it a little bit more because they really dont have any other options.

    Side note: If Harry had actually thought through the Sirius situation and really used the resources he had, I don’t think it would have ended the same way in Order. Harry learned that taking what Voldemort is thinkign into account is important, but fact-checking and seeing how realistic it is is just as important.

  • Yo Rufus On Fire

    I am a firm believer that Occlumency doesn’t do anything for the connection between Harry and Voldemort. Harry has a piece of Voldemort inside of him, allowing him to see into Voldemort’s mind. This is a different kind of connection, the kind of connection that can not be broken until the horcrux is removed from Harry. I don’t think it can be dulled with the use of Occlumency. Harry is viewing the things that are happened when Voldemort’s emotions go haywire, either when he’s angry or happy or frustrated. Harry can not go into Voldemort’s past memories to see them, he can only see the present.

    Voldemort doesn’t want to go into Harry’s mind anymore after the 5th book. He used the connection between them to plant fake visions in Harry’s mind to think that Sirius was in danger, and then Voldemort tried and failed to possess Harry. So I don’t think he would try it again. I’m curious as to see if Voldemort knows that Harry can see into his mind when his emotions are heightened. I wonder this because Voldemort knows about the connection, but I don’t think he knows the extent of it.

    In the end, I don’t think the lessons of Occlumency helped, nor do I think Hermione is right that Harry should close his mind. Hermione knows about the connection, but does not understand that it isn’t Occlumency based. Harry can not close his mind to Voldemort, nor can Voldemort close his mind to Harry.

    Wouldn’t you think after all this time that Voldemort would have closed his mind to Harry after he figured out the connection so that Harry couldn’t see what he was doing? I think that is what he did, but because the connection is so different that it didn’t work.

    So no, I don’t think that Hermione’s advise is the best course of action. No, I don’t think it is a skill Harry should hone and no, after Dumbledore realizing the true connection I don’t think he would advocate for it either. He knows that it is no real use to Harry.

    Bam. *mike drop*

    • Claire Marie

      SOOOOOOOO true!!!!! Agreed. Also, you did an awesome job on this week’s episode! And I haven’t tried the drinking game yet, but I definitely want to! I love that you came up that – so badass.

      • Yo Rufus On Fire

        Thank you!! I really appreciate that! The drinking game is a lot of fun. :)

    • WitchWolfsbane10

      Rufus out!

    • SlytherinKnight

      Totally agree. I really believe that Harry was incapable of learning Occlumency due to the Horcrux, I would love to know if Harry did learn it after the war, since this would confirm my (and many others) theory. I think Dumbledore was trying to make Harry more like himself, by having him learn Occlumency even though it wasn’t working. It’s funny how the two Occlumens (sp?) in the series (Snape and Dumbledore) very rarely showed their (true) emotions, keeping them hidden away so that they wouldn’t be used against them but Dumbledore always harped on how Harry’s greatest strength was his ability to feel, and feel love as it were. You could make the argument that Dumbledore was trying to weaken Harry by telling him to not feel, or shut down his emotions by using Occlumency.

      Another strike against Dumbledore in my book

      • Buckbeak is my spirit animal

        I think it’s really interesting that the person who thinks himself the most powerful wizard, Voldemort, has no real control of himself. He believes he can control everyone and everything else, but he’s super emotional. Although, I guess if he had any insight into himself, he probably wouldn’t be the evil dude he is.

  • SpinnersEnd

    My simple answer to the question is: yes, Harry should learn Occlumency. It’s a useful skill to have in general.

    BUT: Even had Dumbledore lived, I think there might have come a time desperate enough for Dumbledore to ask Harry to look into Voldemort’s mind. If Dumbledore had been present in the run up to the Battle of Hogwarts, I think he would have had Harry use his connection to the Dark Lord to glean information.

    But I think Dumbledore would have arranged for this to happen in a way that could not be connected to him. He would not have asked Harry outright, but orchestrated some incident through which Harry was tossed into a vision. It would have been too much for Dumbledore to admit he was wrong in trying to force Occlumency on Harry in the way he did, and for the express purpose of blocking Voldemort.

  • FizzTheWhizzbie

    I don’t think it’s practical for Harry to keep his mind open to Voldemort or anyone for that matter. Snape is accomplished in Occlumency and from what we can infer so was Dumbledore. That means that other dark wizards could use this against Harry. Voldemort is not the only one out to get Harry and we don’t know enough about the other Death Eaters to know that any of them weren’t skilled in this. Lets say that one of the others had captured or tried to break into his mind any of the other times that he encountered them just for information? Harry could not have successfully blocked any of them out. I honestly thought that this should have been a class that should have been offered at Hogwarts among many others. There were so many people at the Ministry that this skill could have helped when Voldemort took over the Ministry.

    • Buckbeak is my spirit animal

      Maybe it’s something you learn later in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Or Auror training?

  • Penelope’s blotchy nose

    To jump ahead a bit here, I think Harry learns to manipulate his connection to Voldemort as the book goes on, and he probably would not have been able to make his decision between horcruxes and hallows without it. This is first explicitly noted when Dobby dies and while he digs the grave: the force of his loss drives out all of Voldemort in his head. Harry remembers how the death of Sirius had a similar effect, and observes that grief insulates him from Voldemort, “although of course, Dumbledore would have called it love”.

    His ability to feel his emotions becomes what enables him to tune out or tune into the horcrux connection, which is the opposite of occlumency, which relies on controlling and compartmentalising feeling. Not only do I not believe Harry capable of mastering occlumency to any useful degree, I also think it’s a waste of his energy to try. He finds his own way of dealing with the connection by being more emotional, more vulnerable to love and loss, and this, ultimately, is what gives him the edge over Voldemort.

    A Dumbledore who went on telling Harry to marshall his feelings and shut out Voldemort would be one repeating his old man’s mistake of mistrusting Harry and tending too far toward trying to control.

    • SlytherinKnight

      I totally agree. I think Dumbledore’s mistake was trying to make Harry into someone he was not, into another Dumbledore in a sense. I think the reason that Harry couldn’t learn Occlumency was because of the Horcrux, it gave him a direct link to Voldemort’s head and nothing, outside of intense emotions (love, grief, happiness) could block Voldemort’s attacks. As has been stated on this forum before, Harry, Snape and Dumbledore are all at fault for Harry not learning at least some sort of Occlumency, Harry by his work ethic, Snape by his hatred of Harry and Dumbledore for not telling Harry why he needed to learn it in the first place. I would like to know if Harry learned Occlumency after the war, since if he had, then it could be inferred that Harry was just incapable of learning it due to the Horcrux.

    • Buckbeak is my spirit animal

      I love this. It makes so much sense.

  • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

    This is slightly off topic, but I always found it interesting that Harry only really begins to succeed at closing his mind (in a limited fashion) after Dobby’s death. It takes a lot of emotional trauma and an innocent person being killed for Harry to close Voldemort out — but even beyond that I think the Hallows v. Horcruxes internal debate he has is what really pushes him over that edge.

    So it seems that uncertainty about his own future has always made it hard for him to close his mind. It’s only after he resolves upon a course of action that he cannot go back on that he finally finds the wherewithal to push Voldemort out. Thereafter, he chooses when to slip into Voldemort’s mind, and not vice versa. It’s a struggle, but he’s gained some amount of control.

    Obviously his hatred for Snape made Occlumency difficult. But I see that decision, and that change for Harry, as a crucial moment where he has finally decided to set his feet upon a course — and it’s a course that he decides upon without consulting the others. Granted, it’s pretty much what Dumbledore wanted him to do. But he needed that choice to be made. After that, Harry doesn’t need to have that curiosity about his future, in terms of what Voldemort’s doing, because he’s seized control of his own future. It’s tenuous, and he has very little idea what he’s doing — but he is in more control.

  • Buckbeak is my spirit animal

    I definitely think Harry can and should continue to use the connection. He should probably also hone his Occlumency skills, but possibly to manipulate things further to his use. Imagine if he could use it offensively, too. I don’t think Voldemort would ever risk using the connection against Harry because of the pain he felt when he possessed Harry in OotP. I think Harry using the connection against Voldy would truly intimidate Voldemort. No one else has ever been able to see into Voldy’s head and this would absolutely terrify him, not just because of the pain from the possession, but because that would prove Harry is a superior wizard. Now, we know that Harry wouldn’t really be using true Legilimency, and would just be using his Horcrux powers, but Voldemort doesn’t know that. I think Voldemort would fear Harry even more that he already does and would probably never risk using that connection against Harry again.

    Unfortunately, Harry just doesn’t have the skill for that. I think the way he uses the connection is really great and the likelihood of Voldemort using it against Harry again is very slim.