Continued from Of bullies and tyrants (Part I)
James Potter, though he was great and a brave man, often bullied Severus Snape mercilessly. I am not saying that Snape was a perfect person in any sense. Initially he was as nasty as any of the other Death Eaters. It was only later that he mended his ways. But the fact is that even someone as brave as James Potter was a bully when he was teenager. I think the reason why he bullied Severus Snape was because of his proximity with Lily Evans. James Potter loved Lily, but Lily would not even speak with him. She thought of him as an arrogant toerag, whereas she was friends with Snape. And that jealousy and insecurity made him a bully.
Severus Sanpe grew up in a household where there were constant fights and quarrels. His childhood was extremely troubled and traumatizing. He spent his teenage in company of people who came from far more superior households. (It is implied he was friends with Lucius Malfoy) It is safe to say that he did not lead an easy life. Always surrounded by people who overshadowed him, I believe that he thought the only way in which he would shine was by being scary. Because, lets face it, he neither had influential last name and piles of gold like Lucius Malfoy and James Potter nor did he have the good looks and the – devil – may – care kind of attitude like Sirius Black. So in order to garner attention he turned to dark arts.
Snape was a man who did not have much in first place. And on top of that he lost all of it, one by one. He lost Lily’s friendship for which, I think he blames James, as it was because James had humiliated him so much that he accidentally called Lily a mudblood. Severus Snape himself was bullied when he was a child. So when he grew up and was in a position of power, he bullied those who were weaker than him. He bullied Harry because his father had done the same thing to him and it was Snape’s way of getting back at James.
The list of bullies would be incomplete without the mention of the Dark Lord himself. The Dark Lord to his Death Eaters, Lord Voldemort to the brave and He Who Must Not Be Named or You Know Who to the not so brave. He is cruel, heartless, brutal, inhuman, vicious, savage… The adjectives that can be used to describe Lord Voldemort are innumerable. Prof. Dumbledore describes Lord Voldemort in a few sentences…
‘And his knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house – elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped. – Albus Dumbledore ( Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
He was a bully, and the most ruthless one at that. I will not describe the horrific acts that Lord Voldemort has committed as they are countless. But the basic reason because of which he did what he did was his own fear of death. As Prof. Dumbledore says, “It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” So Lord Voldemort was afraid of the unknown. He could never understand what Hermione understood at the age of eleven,
“I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.” – Hermione Granger (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
That there are things in life which are worse that dying. So to mask his own fear he channeled all his energy and wit into becoming the most feared wizard of all time.
‘…I, who have gone further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality…’ – Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
He thought it was greatness, but in reality it was his cowardice that drove him to commit all those horrific acts including trying to kill baby Harry. In an attempt to eliminate the last possible threat to his life, he proceeded to kill a child that was barely a year old. He also forced a mother to die trying to save her child. In the end it was a mother’s love that led him to his downfall (Lily sacrificing her life to save Harry) and ultimately to his death. (Narcissa lying to Lord Voldemort because she knew only way she could enter Hogwarts to look for her son was with the winning procession.)
So all in all we can conclude that even though bullies portray themselves as fearsome, intimidating and invincible, they are not so. They all are hiding some fear or insecurity within themselves. They all are afraid to confess themselves to be scared and vulnerable. They try to mask their vulnerability by doing dark deeds and getting people to fear them. We all saw what Voldemort’s true avatar in afterlife was.
‘ It had the form of a small, naked child, curled on the ground, its skin raw and rough, flayed – looking….’ – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Those who are courageous and brave confront their fears. Bravery is not something that is shown only on the battlefield. A brave person confronts the reality, no matter how horrific and bitter and faces his worst fears.
Those who are not so brave, sit in a corner and pity themselves and their condition. They try to get others to pity them. But such people are slightly better because they at least have the guts to confess themselves vulnerable.
Only cowards resort to bullying. They try to show that they are tough, but in reality they are even more scared than their victim.
“Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants do everywhere! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! Voldemort is no different.”
– Harry Potter and the Half – Blood Prince