Sunday, August 31, 2003

Is Percy the Prodigal Son?

"I sincerely hope that, in time, they will realize how mistaken they were and I shall of course, be ready to accept a full apology when that day comes." (Percy, Harry Potter Book V)

The Pomopus statement above was made to Ron about Molly and Arthur. Percy is convinced that he is right in siding with the Ministry of Magic. He believes Molly and Arthur will come to see the "truth" and seek Percy's forgiveness. Yet, this scenario will not play out. By the end of book five, Molly and Arthur are proven true in their fight against Voldemort. Once again Percy has aligned himself with the wrong people in his quest for power. In short, it will not be Molly and Arthur that will apologize to Percy, but Percy who must apologize to his parents. The problem is, can Percy swallow his pride, admit his mistakes, and seek forgiveness.

Like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, Percy Weasley has chosen a superficial life over his family. He has denied that which makes him a Weasley (sticking together, love, the importance of family). He has gone so far as to return the sweater that Molly traditionaly makes for her sons. It is hard to reconcile this Percy with the Percy in previous books. It is true that Percy always cared about his image (freaking out when Ron was coming out of the girls restroom), but he always cared deeply about his family. When he learns that Ron was under the water for over an hour in book IV, he runs to his brother to see if he is okay. He is so worried about Ron that he looks younger and pale. Even in the letter he writes Ron, it is clear that he does still love the Weasleys and sees them as his family. He refers to Molly and Arthur as the parents, and Ron as his brother. Yet, Percy does not even go to visit Arthur when he is in mortal peril at St. Mungo's. These two sides of Percy are disturbing. One can sense a child who belongs to a loving family struggling with his pride and ambitions. Unfortunately, in book V it appears that his ambitions have won the greater battles.

At the end of book V the truth of Voldemort's return is uncovered. It is clear that a new battle will have to surface in Percy. Can he swallow his ambition and go back home? It may take Percy a while, but I believe that he will return. He will plan an elaborate tale to excuse himself or face his inequities and seek forgiveness. Why do I believe this? Because I have faith that Percy is inherently good. He has a good family and is surrounded by love. The call of love is stronger than any other power, and this power will call him home. He will feel shame at the way he treated his parents, especially his failure to visit Arthur. He will not know where this leads him, other than that he has to go home to love. He will appear near Molly and a few other Weasleys and the site will be beautiful and beyond all of Percy's expectations. He will open his mouth to excuse or apologize, and Molly will hear none of it. Like the father to the prodigal son, Molly will weep for joy that her son has returned home and be so thankful for the chance to hug him again that she will treat it as if he never left home. (Much like how she hugged Fred and George after the Quidditch Cup incident). The other Weasleys might have a hard time warming up to Percy, but they all will. Percy may even appreciate Fred and George who will likely accept the return of their brother (Though not without a few pranks). The only brother in question is Ron. Ron will remember the letter and the lack of a hospital visitation. Undoubtably there will be some kind of row and it will be a rockier path to forgiveness. Yet, I do believe Ron will forgive him and the Weasleys will be a complete, happy family.

"But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come back to life again; he was lost and has been found."
(Luke 15:32)

Other considerations
There is always more to the story
Voldemort may use Percy's ambition and pride against him.
His quest for power could lead him further away from the Weasleys, and even closer to Voldemorts grasp.
There is a possibility that Percy is under the imperious curse
It may not be until the very end that Percy comes home. He may make even more mistakes before admitting his inequities.

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