I remember laying on my back one day, watching fan blades overhead chase each other lazily — uselessly, doing nothing against the high temperature. It wasn’t just the heat pinning me to the ground; it was an oppressive, overwhelming sense of dread and loneliness that had become inescapable of late.
It was the summer after I turned eleven, and I didn’t know that I was in the early grips of a despondency that would only get heavier as time went on.
I laid there, a quasi replica of Harry Potter, aged fifteen, flat on his back under the stifling summer heat, in his Aunt Petunia’s garden at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And while the similarity in our pose had been a coincidence, still, it gave me comfort.
I had just finished reading the book for the hundredth time in the weeks since it had been published — my refuge against aimless wanderings, the lighthouse for my restless imagination — , and more so than in the other books, was beginning to find eerie parallels between myself and Harry.
. . . .
Harry goes through an intense period of unhappiness that, in retrospect, has all the markings of an undiagnosed depressive episode (I am even tempted to suggest PTSD). This is not to say he hadn’t known hardship before: Chamber of Secrets sees him endure the scrutiny and bullying of his Hogwarts classmates after they suspect him of being responsible for a string of attacks on students, attributable to the Heir of Slytherin; in Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry learns the awful truth of how his parents were betrayed by Peter Pettigrew, in addition to dealing with long-buried issues about their death (through the Dementor/Anxiety metaphor).
But none of these manifestations of heartbreak compared to what Rowling laid out in Order of the Phoenix: Harry had always been steadfast, even when he was bewildered, even when he was temporarily confused. The obstacles he encountered were difficult to overcome, but overcome them he did: it was he, Hermione, Ron against the rest of the world.
. . . .
What also stood out to me, the first time, was that a line seemed to have drawn itself deeply in the sand, separating Harry from his closest friends even more than before. Even more so, I say, because I never felt like the trio was actually a trio. His circumstances had always stood him apart from Hermione and Ron, but there was always that assurance that it could never be strong enough to separate him from love: because love was stronger than loneliness, because friendship conquered all, because people stood stronger together, and all that noise.
Link to the rest at Medium