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Harry - Biography

Harry James Potter

"I don't go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me."
     -- Harry Potter

"Oh, it's you, is it? I suppose you've been doing something dangerous again?"
     -- Poppy Pomfrey to Harry Potter

"Listen to me, Harry. You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand-picked students. His own very rare gift, Parseltongue -- resourcefulness -- determination -- a certain disregard for rules. Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think...It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
     -- Albus Dumbledore

"Wow, I wonder what it'd be like to have a difficult life?"
     -- Harry, sarcastically

Early Years 

Harry James Potter was born on
July 31, 1980, to James and Lily Potter. James Potter's best friend, Sirius Black, was named Harry's godfather. Sirius, James, and Lily were all part of the Order of the Phoenix, a group of witches and wizards who were desperately fighting against Voldemort. They were outnumbered and many of them were killed, but they fought on. James and Lily had narrowly escaped Voldemort three times during this time.

Before Harry was born, a prophecy had been made about a boy to be born at the end of July which indicated that this person would be able to defeat the Dark Lord. Lord Voldemort heard part of this prophecy through an agent and resolved to destroy the child. Both Harry and another child, Neville Longbottom, would have fit the prophecy, but Voldemort decided that Harry must be the one and went after him. James and Lily knew that Voldemort was trying to kill Harry, and by October of 1981, they had used the Fidelius Charm to hide themselves from the Dark Lord. Unfortunately, the person they chose as Secret Keeper for the Charm, Peter Pettigrew, turned out to be a double agent who revealed their location to Voldemort. 

On the evening of October 31, 1981, the Dark Lord came to the Godric's Hollow, the town where James and Lily were living as Muggles, and attacked. James tried to hold Voldemort off at the door but failed; he was apparently killed there. Lily tried to run with Harry but Voldemort caught her. Curiously, he offered to spare her life, but she stood in his way and he killed her to get to Harry. This sacrifice turned out to be vitally important, for it was the ancient magic of this act that protected the child. When Voldemort's Avada Kedavra curse hit Harry, the protection of Lily's sacrifice made the curse rebound onto Voldemort, who was all but killed. The curse left a curse scar in the shape of a lightning bolt on Harry's forehead.

The battle between the Potters and Voldemort left the house in ruins. Dumbledore dispatched Hagrid to go to Godric's Hollow and retrieve Harry. Hagrid managed to rescue Harry before the Muggles had a chance to investigate and interfere. While he was there, Hagrid encountered Sirius Black, who asked that Harry be given to him, since he was the boy's godfather. Hagrid refused, since he was following Dumbledore's orders to retrieve the boy. Sirius lent Hagrid his flying motorcycle to fly Harry to safety. 

It is unclear where Hagrid and Harry were for the next twenty-four hours. Dumbledore apparently spent the time arranging for Harry's safe keeping in Privet Drive, but even McGonagall didn't know what was going on. The next evening, she met Dumbledore in Privet Drive and shortly thereafter Hagrid arrived on the flying motorcycle with Harry. The three of them left Harry in a bundle of blankets on the doorstep of Number Four, the home of Harry's last surviving blood relatives, the Dursleys

A Decade of Abuse

For the next ten years, Harry lived a life of emotional abuse and physical deprivation. His Aunt Petunia, Lily's sister, and his Uncle Vernon were determined to squash any magic out of him. They never told him about his true identity. They told him that his parents had died in a car crash, which was also how he got the scar on his head. They doted on their son
Dudley, who was a spoiled bully, while making Harry sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. The number one rule in the Dursley household was "Don't ask questions." Their goal was to keep him oppressed and downtrodden in the hopes that he wouldn't develop what they considered to be abnormal tendencies toward magic. They sent him to the same school as Dudley, who picked on Harry mercilessly. The other kids at school tended to avoid Harry because they didn't want to be nice to someone Dudley picked on or they'd attract his bullying on themselves. Harry was made to wear Dudley's old clothes, which were much too large for Harry. 

Despite the efforts of the Dursleys, Harry did exhibit some magic tendencies during his years at the Dursleys. At one point, when Uncle Vernon had become so frustrated with Harry's untidy hair that he cut it all off, Harry turned up at the breakfast table the next morning with hair all grown back. Another time, Harry was being chased by Dudley and his gang when Harry found himself unexptectedly up on the school roof. Harry had turned a teacher's wig blue and also shrunk a particularly ugly jumper (sweater) of Dudley's so that he wouldn't have to wear it.

Periodically during these years, Uncle Vernon's sister Marge would visit the Dursleys. She took great delight in tormenting Harry. She would give expensive presents to Dudley and either something horrible or nothing at all to Harry. She brought her pet bulldog, Ripper, to visit and when Harry was nine, she actually allowed the dog to chase Harry up a tree, where he had to remain until she called the dog off after midnight.

By the time he was ten years old, Harry had grown into a skinny, knobbly-kneed boy with untidy black hair and a narrow face. He wore glasses which were broken and taped from repeated blows aimed at him by Dudley. He was surprisingly quick, a skill developed over years of getting out of the way of his bullying cousin. He still lived in the cupboard under the stairs. His eyes, which were the same as his mother's, were brilliant green.

His life changed abruptly during the summer of 1991. Strange letters began arriving which frightened his aunt and uncle into fleeing the house and running to hide in a hut on a rock out at sea. In the midst of a huge storm, with waves crashing on the rock, just after midnight, Hagrid arrived on the rock where he discovered that Harry had no idea that he was a wizard. Hagrid did his best to explain to the boy all about his past, and when morning came on July 31, 1991, Hagrid took Harry to Diagon Alley to shop for the things he would need for school. A few weeks later, on September 1, Harry boarded the Hogwarts Express and was taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

First Year at Hogwarts
September, 1991 through June, 1992

During Harry's first year he made close friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. He developed a rivalry with Draco Malfoy. He was an average student. He learned to ride a broom and discovered that he was a natural at it. He was made a member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, the youngest house player in a century. During this year, it became evident that Voldemort was trying to infiltrate the school to try to get a Philosopher's Stone which was hidden in the third floor. Harry eventually uncovered the plot and chased Quirrell, who was being controlled by Voldemort, down into a series of chambers under the school. Here, with Ron and Hermione, Harry overcame numerous challenges and eventually faced Quiirell and Voldemort. Harry successfuly protected the Stone from Voldemort, although he was seriously injured in the process, and spent three days unconscious in the hospital wing afterwards.

Biographical facts:
Born: July 31, 1980, to James Potter and Lily Evans Potter (SS8)
Hogwarts: Sept 1, 1991 - present,
Gryffindor House
Quidditch: Seeker for Gryffindor House team 1991 - present (youngest player for a house team in a hundred years)
eyes: brilliant green, "He has his mother's eyes." Wears round glasses
hair: black, untidy, sticks up in the back, same as his father's
build: short and thin, knobbly knees
distinguishing features: lightning-bolt scar on forehead
field: becoming quite strong in Defence Against the Dark Arts
unusual abilities: speaks Parseltongue, sense the presence of others,
prescient dreams
middle name: James, after his father (Sch2, OP8)
wand: holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple (SS5)
broomstick: Nimbus 2000 (1991-3), Firebolt (1994 -

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