So, we’ve discussed censorship at Hogwarts and censorship in the wizarding community as a whole. And I’m pretty clear about where I stand on one issue – censoring vital information to adults is bad! – and not so clear on the other – where is the line when you’re talking about students / children? So it should come as no surprise that when Hogwarts students step out into the real world, I get even more mixed up.
I am, of course, talking about how Harry & co (mostly Ron & Hermione, but also the rest of the Weasley kids and even the other students to a certain extent) are treated by the adults of the Order. There is a scene in Grimmauld Place, at the beginning of OotP, soon after Harry arrives, that illustrates my point beautifully:
“…You know, I’m surprised at you. I thought the first thing you’d do when you got here would be to start asking questions about Voldemort.” [Sirius said]….
“I did!” said Harry indignantly. “I asked Ron and Hermione, but they said we’re not allowed in the Order, so -”
“And they’re quite right,” said Mrs. Weasley. “You’re too young.”…
“Since when does someone have to be in the Order of the Phoenix to ask questions?’ asked Sirius…
“It’s not down to you to decide what’s good for Harry!..,not telling Harry more than he needs to know,” said Mrs. Weasley…
“I don’t intend to tell him more than he needs to know, Molly,” said Sirius. “But as he’s the one who saw Voldemort come back…he has more right than most…”
(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, p. 87-88)
I chopped it up a bit for clarify, but I think you get the gist. SIrius believes that Harry should be told more about what the Order is learning, what they’re doing, and what’s truly going on in the world. Molly believes that he’s too young to hear about all this, and that he should be protected. So, this is where I’m even more conflicted than I was thinking about the Hogwarts curriculum.
On one hand, I’m a mother. I totally and completely understand where Molly is coming from with her argument – she sees Harry as one of her children, and she wants to protect her children. As a parent, I can empathize with that reaction – to shield your child from the bad parts of the world, and to resist anyone’s attempts to shove those bad parts into their life. It’s a natural parental reaction, and Molly is a mother,first and foremost – and she sees Harry as one of her children.
But, as Sirius and Harry both point out, he’s a teenager – not really a child – and there really is no shielding him from Voldemort’s return, because Voldemort is determined to involve him regardless of his age. After all, Voldemort tried to murder him when he was only fifteen months old – why would he suddenly declare Harry off-limits because of puberty? At what point does not telling him things to protect him put him in more danger, because he doesn’t know that he’s in danger?
While Molly wants to use Harry’s age to protect him, I am in agreement with Sirius (and Harry himself, of course) that he’s involved with the Order regardless of his age, and not telling him things has the potential to be much more harmful than telling him. I would even go so far as to extend that commentary to all the main students in the book – the Weasley children, Hermione and Neville and Luna. They’re involved – through accident of birth or friendship or choice or whatever – and refusing to acknowledge their involvement doesn’t make it – or the dangers associated with it – go away. It simply makes it that much more dangerous, because ignorant involvement is a danger to everyone around them.