Harry Potter is a bad boy. In fact, he is a textbook definition of a bad boy. If you haven’t read my previous article about how bad boy’s are actually good guys, or if you just want to refresh your memories, you can find it here.
What makes a bad boy:
- They do what they want, when they want
- They don’t pretend to be somebody they are not
- They have confidence in themselves
- Everything they do has a purpose
- They think for themselves
- They call it like it is
What bad boys are not:
Their ‘criminal’ activities are done in order to protect or defend themselves or somebody they love.
Calling it like it is: Harry has a tendency to point out the obvious, and call a spade a spade. He doesn’t care who hears his opinions, or what they think about his opinions. He also doesn’t say something he doesn’t mean.
Thinks for himself: Harry puts his trust in his gut feeling above all else. Even when Hermione is 100% right, if Harry feels like she isn’t, he will go with his gut feeling. If his gut feeling knows that Hermione is right, he will admit it.
Confidence in himself: Once Harry knows he can do something, his confidence never waivers.
Doesn’t pretend to be somebody else: Harry could have easily played up “the boy who lived”, but he doesn’t because that is simply not who he is. He would rather be liked for himself, then have friends who only want the status of being his friend.
Everything has a purpose/does what he wants: Harry doesn’t do anything without a purpose, and everything he does is in the name of upholding his moral guidelines. He believes in protecting everybody, especially those he loves. If Harry believes that he can save somebody, he will break any rule/law and die trying. In fact, he does die (jury is still out on whether he actually died or just Voldemort’s soul in him died) in order to give protection to his friends and schoolmates. He’s also probably set the school record for how many school rules he’s broken.
It is only because he is the main character that we don’t view him as a bad boy. Instead, we view him solely as a hero. By seeing what he sees, knowing what he knows, and feeling what he feels we can root for him as a hero. If any other character would have told the story, Harry would not be seen in the same light; he would have been seen as ‘dangerous’, ‘mysterious’, and ‘mischievous’. We wouldn’t know that he is trying to save the school when he breaks 100 school rules on his quest to finding the Chamber of Secrets entrance. We would just see him breaking the rules and then later (at the very end of the book) finding out that there was a purpose to it all.
If other bad boy characters had a chance to be the main character, they too would be seen as a hero and not as a bad boy. Bellamy Blake from The 100, for instance, would be seen as a hero who has to make tough choices in order to protect his friends and family. We would be captivated by his backstory of being forced to hide his sister and would base all of his current actions/behaviors/tendencies off of the emotional trauma that arose from it, much like how we analyze Harry Potter’s abusive background to explain his current actions/behaviors/tendencies.
A simple shift of POV changes how we see characters, and Harry Potter will always be a bad boy that we love as the hero he is.