Obedience in Harry Potter 6, by Michael Matthews

The concept this post will be about is obedience—specifically, changing one’s actions in accordance with a spoken command.

Harry Potter fans may recall the beginning of the 6th movie.  Harry was waiting at a restaurant, hoping to chat with the waitress after she got off work, when Dumbledore showed up.  Dumbledore, you see, had to ask for Harry’s help in convincing Dr. Horace Slughorn to come work at Hogwarts.  But in order for Dumbledore and Harry to get to Slughorn’s house, they needed to “apparate”.  And, in order for two or more people to apparate to the same place, they need to be in physical contact.

So Dumbledore says, “Take my arm, Harry,” which is a little weird since men do not usually take each other by the arm.  Harry hesitates, but Dumbledore says more firmly, “Do as I say.”  This double verbal command is finally enough to make Harry obey Dumbledore’s request.  Harry usually isn’t a non-conformist jerk, so one can forgive him for being a little reticent about breaking a cultural/gender norm.  But he is the hero, so he of course ends up obeying his elders, like a good hero does.

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