Oh crap y'all, I have been looking at old books again and things ain't looking good for our boy Harry. Nope. And I am not talking in the world of magic, no I am talking about the muggle version of magic — love. Awww! I know, how naff is that? Whatever, call me a romantic fool, it me. Anyhow, looks like even literary heroes can go a little left of appropriate in any way. You might need to sit down for this. This time round it is how Harry Potter treats Cho Chang after the death of Cedric Diggory.
No, I am not talking about the hideously obvious fact that the only female East Asian female character in this book is an object of two white men's affection. I am talking about Harry's treatment of his peer.
Look I know you may not have thought about it before but we need to address it babe. OK, so here is the background. Harry always had a bit of a horn for Cho, from the first time she appears in the books. And like, you know, nature etc, people have crushes. But thing is, Cho was chilling with Cedric at the time. Diggory, who has been described by some (me) as "Digger-me" is the hot AF Hufflepuff with brains, brawn, beauty, and of course charm beyond belief. Swoon. So obviously, no dice for any possible romance between Cho and Harry. But then, the wheel of fate turns.
Cue Eastenders theme tune.
During the final challenge in the Triwizard Tournament, Poor Cedric grabs the Triwizard Cup at the precise moment Harry does. Neither of them knowing that it is a portkey set to take them directly into the hands of bad guy Voldemort, in an act of subterfuge and cunning that is low-key impressive. But still like, a complete dick move on Voldemort's part. Anyhow, Cedric sadly is murdered by A-hole Peter Pettigrew during this incident, and Harry brings his body back.
So obviously everyone is super traumatised by this whole tragic event, but the two worst affected in the school are Harry and Cho. Cho is keen to talk to him about it all, but what does Harry do? Feel super uncomfortable about her crying, and focus on his feelings for her as opposed to their shared trauma. Like literally when she feels upset and tries to talk to him it goes like this.
"Look, let's not talk about Cedric right now...let's talk about something else".
Right, now that is maybe not the way to respond to a person who is grieving. I mean I am no expert on the matter but like woah — dick move Harry.
And the plot thickens as the pair grow closer. Cho is in constant conflict over having feelings for Harry but also grieving for her dead ex. After what sounds like an incredibly uncomfortable and emotional snog for them both, they grow apart and things finish between them. And how does Harry's BFF Ron respond to what happened?
"You're well out of it, mate. I mean she's quite good-looking and all that, but you want someone a bit more cheerful"
Babe, her boyfriend got murdered by a flipping psychopath give her a break.
I see a lot of problems in how Harry treats Cho during this time, but a glaring and irrefutable fact is that at this time, all of the aforementioned characters were adolescents. Hormones pumping through them a mile a minute, dealing with pretty heavy serious stuff at such a young age, and figuring out how relationships work makes for pretty poor decision making and values. You know as well as sexual education, a lot of kids receive relationship education now? And thank goodness for that. Because you show me one person, male or female who didn't behave like a complete idiot girl/boy in their younger years and I will show you my new pet flying pig.
Maybe a part of me just wishes that it was flagged in retrospect by the characters that they acted badly. Maybe a part of me wishes that in real life people could use their own powers of responsibility for past behaviours and grow from them. Now that would be magical.