Harry's Patronus

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In an interview JK Rowling did with Emma Coad for ITV back in 2005 she explains the Patronus as “a kind of spirit guardian in a way. And that's partly because of what it does. It's the protector, and you could protect yourself and other people that you cared about with a Patronus” (Citation). The importance of a Patronus and more than that, the importance of its form is compounded since it is introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry’s Patronus takes the form of a stag, which is the exact animal his father could transform into. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Harry mentions that the form of Tonks’ Patronus has changed. In Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Snape’s Patronus is a doe, the same as Lily’s. Throughout Rowling’s series she introduces her readers to the Patronus as guardian, but she continues to develop this idea throughout the series into a symbol of an individual’s identity and a symbol of their innermost desire. With a Patronus as a stand-in for the self, Rowling gives into the idea of an individual’s agency because while one craves a protector, ultimately one must act in order to save themselves.
Throughout the series of Harry Potter the significance of the Patronus grows as the reader learns more about the characters. The word Patronus is introduced into the Harry Potter canon in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Rowling quickly establishes the Patronus as a guardian. As Professor Lupin explains it to Harry, a Patronus is, “a kind of anti-dementor – a guardian that acts as a shield between you and the dementor” (237). Rowling presents this new vocabulary term to the readers and gives a bare minimum definition via Professor Lupin. Later in the book Harry discovers what for...

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... plain in the form of his Patronus.
Rowling’s use of the Patronus as a manifestation of an individual’s identity represents the idea that while we crave a protector and seek out someone who will save us, in the end we must rely on ourselves. Harry craved a protector in the form of his father. In the end of Prisoner of Azkaban he waits for his father to appear, to cast the Patronus charm and save him and Sirius. While he waits, he has a moment of realization about his own agency, “no one was coming to help this time – And then it hit him… He hadn’t seen his father – he had seen himself” (411). Although Harry wishes for his father, even tries to rationalize that his savior was his father, he knew he had to act. Rowling in the ends, supports Harry’s agency here, he had to save himself and he goes on throughout this book and the entire series saving others even though
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