The Evolution of Harry Potter

The Evolution of Harry Potter

Nov 16, 2010

Remember that cute little 11-year-old boy with big, round glasses, staring wide-eyed in disbelief when he was told he was a wizard? He’s now 21, super rich and appearing nude on Broadway. Let's take a look back at the bespectacled Boy Who Lived, from his humble beginnings to becoming a teenager to saving the whole wizardry world and facing his archenemy, Lord Voldemort, to destroy him once and for all.

Harry Potter Begins: Year 1
We meet Harry as a baby, being delivered to Privet Drive by Prof. Dumbledore and Hagrid to live with his Muggle relatives, The Dursleys. Seems little Harry not only survived a horrible attack from Voldemort that killed his parents, he somehow made the evil wizard disappear. All that's left of the encounter is a lightning-shaped scar on Harry's forehead -- and a legacy. The boy grows up with the horrid and cruel Dursleys, knowing nothing about his wizardry past, until he turns 11 and is visited by Hagrid who whisks him away to this strange and wonderful new world.

The Sorcerer's Stone
For a kid who had been living in a broom closet under the stairs, Harry takes to his new world of magic with a surprising ease. He doesn't quite understand why everyone considers him a living legend as the Boy Who Lived, but he does meet two new school friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. And it seems He Who Must Not Be Named is also back -- sort of. Voldemort tries to regain his human form by getting his hands on the Sorcerer's Stone, an item that can grant its owner immortality. But once again, Harry foils the Dark Lord's plans, discovering that his mother Lily's sacrifice and love gives Harry protection against Voldemort. Trust us, that comes in handy in the future.

Harry Potter: Year Two
Poor Harry. After spending such a glorious and exciting year for the first time in his young life, he is forced to go back to the Dursleys (little does he know that staying with those awful people actually protects him from You Know Who). But he gets a real shock when a surprise visitor, Dobby the house-elf, shows up and warns Harry against returning to Hogwarts because terrible things are going to happen. Harry decides to ignore this strange little fellow and go spend the summer with Ron and his family after being rescued by the Weasley's enchanted Ford Anglia.

The Chamber of Secrets
Once ensconced at Hogwarts, Dobby's warnings start to come true, especially when it looks the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. According to legend, the Chamber was built by Salazar Slytherin and can only be opened by his heir, unleashing the basilisk in order to purge Hogwarts of students who are not pure-blood wizards. Many suspect Harry is the Heir of Slytherin, especially after he inadvertently speaks Parseltongue (the language of snakes), a rare ability Harry gained after Voldemort's murderous attack upon him. But alas, it's Voldemort handiwork again. This time, he comes back as his younger self, a “memory” named Tom Marvolo Riddle, who springs from his old diary and uses Ron's little sister, Ginny, as a conduit. Harry once again destroys the monster and its master.

Harry Potter: Year Three
Harry at 13. He is coming of age and realizing just how incredibly brilliant yet tricky his life has become. He also knows how much he hates to go back to the Dursleys. So unhappy is he that Harry whips out his wand and uses magic against them at one point. He fears retribution for using underage magic outside of Hogwarts, but the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge lets it slide. Instead, he tells Harry there's a dangerous prisoner, Sirius Black, who has escaped the wizard prison Azkaban -- and he is coming for Harry.

The Prisoner of Azkaban
Not only is Sirius Black on the loose, but so are the Dementors, Azkaban's ghostly guards, who suck the souls out of their victims. Harry unfortunately encounters a Dementor and experiences their cold “kiss” but is saved by the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin. He teaches Harry how to defend himself against the Dementors, but Harry soon has other wizards to fry. He discovers Black was his father's best friend and betrayed his parents -- or did he? It turns out Black is actually Harry's godfather, who was framed by an old school chum, a Voldemort cohort. Black was only trying to protect Harry while clearing his name. With Hermione's help, Harry finds a way to free his newfound father figure, in hopes he may someday live with him.

Harry Potter: Year Four
Ah, the flush of adolescent youth is upon Harry full stop. He is yearning for a connection to his real family and wishes the now outlawed Sirius Black would swoop in and take him away from the dreariness of the summer. Instead, Hermione, Ron and the Weasleys come to pick Harry up and take him to the prestigious Quidditch World Cup for a rousing good time. All goes well until the Death Eaters, Voldemort's croonies, show up and create havoc. Something's brewing...

The Goblet of Fire
Harry discovers this is the year Hogwarts hosts the Triwizard Tournament, a competition between rival schools in which three players must complete three dangerous tasks. When the names are drawn, however, there's one more unexpectedly added to the list: Harry, who is not at all pleased about the turn of events. He manages to get through the first two tasks, and even make it through the school's formal ball. Yet, in the final task, he and leader Cedric Diggory are transported to a graveyard by the tournament's cup, where Voldemort has finally revived himself. Cedric is killed and Harry barely escapes with his life, back to Hogwarts with Cedric's body to declare the Dark Lord has returned.

Harry Potter: Year Five
The 15-year-old's discontentment grows. Harry has been stuck at the Dursleys without any word from his friends all summer and discovers no one in the wizardry world -- besides his best friends and Dumbledore -- believes Voldemort has returned. This ticks Harry off. Then when he and his Muggle cousin Dudley are walking home, they are attacked by Dementors, which Harry fends off by using his Patronus charm, which he learned from Lupin. Performing the magic puts him in serious violation of the Ministry of Magic's rules, but with Dumbledore's help, Harry is freed of charges.

The Order of the Phoenix
The Ministry feels Harry and Dumbledore are insane, and so appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the sadistic Dolores Umbridge, who basically ousts Dumbledore and turns Hogwarts into a prison ward. Harry and a small group of students take it upon themselves to learn the finer points of Dark Arts defense in secret, to prepare for what's to come. Harry, his friends and the Order of the Phoenix, led by Harry's godfather Sirius Black, eventually fight Death Eaters in the bowels of the Ministry of Magic, where Harry discovers his true destiny, and Voldemort finally reveals himself to the wizardry world, exonerating Harry and Dumbledore. Yet, in the heat of the battle, Sirius is killed, once again leaving Harry alone.

Harry Potter: Year Six
The wizardry world is no longer the peaceful community it was. Death Eaters are causing madness and mayhem that even spills into the Muggle world as well. Harry has seen almost too much in his six years as a wizard. At 16, he's resigned himself to being alone and doesn't want to return to Hogwarts because he doesn't want to put the people he cares about in more danger. Dumbledore shows up and convinces Harry to join him in recruiting former Potions professor, Horace Slughorn, to return to Hogwarts, which means Harry's least favorite professor, Severus Snape, would move from Potions to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry decides to go back, after Dumbledore asks Harry to help him with another, more secret mission.

The Half-Blood Prince
Dumbledore has discovered a chink in Voldemort's armor. The Dark Lord learned he could preserve pieces of his soul in various objects called Horcruxes that would allow him to live indefinitely. They're seven altogether, but two have already been destroyed. Dumbledore has found one more, and he needs Harry's help. Meanwhile, Harry suspects his school nemesis Draco Malfoy has become a Death Eater (like his father) -- and he's right. After Harry and Dumbledore return from their dangerous mission, Draco shows up to kill the Hogwarts headmaster -- but he can't do it. Instead, Snape, who Harry has long distrust since he's first days at the school, murders Dumbledore in an act of seeming solidarity with the Death Eaters. Harry is devastated.

The Beginning of the End
All traces of that innocent 11-year-old boy wizard are now gone. Harry has had to grow up all too quickly, witnessing the deaths of two father figures and facing countless dangers. Instead of returning to Hogwarts for a seventh year, he and his friends go into hiding while on a mission to destroy the Horocruxes (dark magical objects) and thus destroy Voldemort, who is hunting them as well.

The Deathly Hallows
Now that Harry knows about Horcruxes, which can either make their creators mortal again or take possession of others and drain their life force, he is determined more than ever to find and destroy them. He must make Voldemort mortal, confront him, and break his horribly undeniable connection to the evil wizard by destroying him. Only Harry can do it, is destined to do it, but first, he'll need help from his stalwart pals Hermione and Ron to find the Horcruxes. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” begins...

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