A to Z 2019

R for Ravenclaw

Ravenclaw, Helena

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

Perhaps the most obvious choice of a HP Universe Character with a surname beginning with R would have been Rowena Ravenclaw, one of the founders, a prominent witch praised for her wit.

But I deviate from that and choose Helena Ravenclaw – for four particular reasons.

Her need to be more important than her mother

I had always entertained a thought that Rowling created Helena’s character with the idea to propagate that jealousy does not necessarily take a vacation when it is between mothers and daughters. One of the purest human bonds is also subject to this. And that, I guess, is what Helena shall always be remembered for – her need to be more important than a founding witch of Hogwarts.

Her quest for knowledge beyond what the most intelligent witch could give

Just how easy is it to assume that Rowena Ravenclaw was the most intelligent witch ever? But her own daughter assumed that Rowena was not as capable and instead believed that all her with lay in the diadem that Rowena wore. This is the base reason of the character eventually becoming a betrayer.

Her quest for knowledge and love

Helena was no ordinary woman. She was extremely capable – at least enough to outwit one of the smartest women ever and steal her most coveted possession. Agreed that parental love may have made Rowena lax in her security around her own daughter but it still required some guts to try and steal the most important, notable possession which would have eventually become her heirloom. A lot of questions arise as to why Helena had to undergo all that trouble to steal a diadem she would have eventually inherited and why the famous Rowena Ravenclaw chose to hide that betrayal rather than confess.

Her definition of the shade grey

J K Rowling defined ‘grey shades in a character’ wonderfully when she created Helena. I personally believe that Helena herself is a person who put her own needs before others’ and their honor (that does not quite make her grey) and can go to any extreme, even sin, to get it done (now this, does).

A character is not entirely black or white but grey. She feels jealous and steals but then regrets. She refuses the Baron’s advances, and is killed by him, eventually returning to that place from where she ran. There is love, there is loyalty and there is something like guilt that binds Helena to Hogwarts, and this character (especially for someone with so much of importance) has been explored only very less.

Her guilt and eventual pain in the realisation of what had become to that coveted diadem, all because she trusted a smooth-talking villainous student shows her love towards the good. And her refusal to explain to Harry shows her pride. I am not particularly a fan of Helena’s behaviour, nor relate with it on any level but I can understand why she had done things in a certain way, and I marvel at how the Queen JKR wrote such a deep character and mentioned her throughout the series on an offhand way and giving a major plot twist in the end.

The song I dedicate to this character: Letter from & to Yamini (Instrumental Version) – for the emotional highs and lows in the music, and for the yearning that is brought out well. Maybe Rowena would have felt this when she sent the Baron to Helena to bring her back one last time.

#RforRavenclaw #AtoZChallenge

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